Could Being a Barn Manager or Groom Affect Your Amateur Status?

Suppose you are a barn manager or groom showing your horse in the Low Adult Jumpers. You consider your riding skill level far from that of a professional, so you have no doubts as to your amateur status – until someone complains.

The person complaining states that you are violating the U.S. Equestrian “amateur rule” and should be considered a professional as they have seen you riding other clients’ horses at the barn where you work and helping to instruct younger riders at horse shows. Is the complainer just trying to stir up trouble? Or do they have a legitimate point? Depending on your specific circumstances, they just may be correct.

Let’s walk through the U.S. Equestrian rule book, rule GR1306 (a.k.a. “the amateur rule”) to understand why.

First, the rule reads:

“3. Permitted activities by Amateur. An Amateur is permitted to do the following:

Accept remuneration for providing service in one’s capacity as a: clinic manager or organizer (so long as they are not performing the activities of instructor or trainer), presenter or panelist at a Federation licensed officials’ clinic, competition manager, competition secretary, judge, steward, technical delegate, course designer, announcer, TV commentator, veterinarian, groom, farrier, tack shop operator, breeder, or boarder, or horse transporter.”

While barn manager is not specifically listed among the permitted activities, groom is, and it is a safe assumption that barn management falls into the same “safe” category.

However, there is a caveat. The rule also states: “…a person is a professional if after his 18th birthday he does any of the following:

Accepts remuneration AND rides, exercises, drives, shows, trains, assists in training, schools or conducts clinics or seminars.”

Let’s first address the riding of client horses at home. If you are receiving any sort of payment for your riding of these client horses or if you are actively training them, it would be in violation of your amateur status.

The exception would be if you are riding them for fun or with no direct compensation.

Armand Leone of Leone Equestrian Law explains: “If you are not receiving remuneration for exercising horses at the barn, and hacking is an informal arrangement for your enjoyment and not part of your ‘job,’ you may be able to ride barn horses and not be considered professional. Again, it all depends on the context. Activities such as grooming, office paperwork, or barn maintenance work are permissible and do not affect your amateur status.”

In this situation, instructing younger riders is likely where you are more apt to find yourself in violation of the rule.

Leone further explains, “The most important thing to keep in mind is that instructing even the youngest, most beginner riders at your barn or helping to train any of your other barn mates would again render you no longer an amateur. Even something as simple as walking a course at a horse show with a younger rider and providing them with input on how it should be ridden while your trainer is tied up at another ring could put you in violation of the rules. Again, the facts matter. Such a scenario could be fine were you not receiving remuneration from your trainer for this activity, because you are…this sort of assistance to your trainer could be viewed as a violation.”

The bottom line: it is important to be cognizant of your actions and to avoid any sort of training – either of horses or riders – for payment or other compensation!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tips: Winter Grooming for Fuzzy Horses

With unseasonably warm temperatures surrounding our BarnManager home base on the East Coast as we post this, it’s hard to believe that we’re talking about winter, but coats are growing in and the winter months are quickly creeping up!

With the approaching winter, we have two primary concerns when the horse is unclipped: dirt, bacteria, fungi, and moisture trapped on the skin by the coat and cooling out the horse after exercise.

When you have an unclipped coat, you have a great natural barrier to the elements, but you also have a way for skin funk, rashes, infections, rain rot, and unseen cuts and scrapes to invade your horse. Couple that with moisture from sweat, and you are creating a buffet for microscopic creatures to invade. You also have the huge task of cooling out and drying your horse after exercise to avoid skin funk and your horse getting chilled to the bone.

Here’s ProEquineGrooms.com’s Liv Gude’s advice for dealing with both!

Get acquainted with a vacuum for horses.

Use your fingertips – your bare-naked fingertips! You should be feeling your horse everywhere to make sure scabs or unusual skin funk, rashes, or rain rot are not forming.

Use your hands to examine the ribs and make sure that they are not poking out underneath the horse’s coat. Use a weight tape weekly to measure weight changes.

Take the time to hot towel your horse. Hot and damp towels are used to “curry” the horse in small sections at a time. Use a cooler to cover each section as you finish.

Utilize waterless shampoos. Many waterless shampoos are designed to clean spots, not do a whole horse, so read the label carefully. In combination with hot toweling, they can be a super way to bring back that “just washed” look for your horse.

Stay warm, and good luck this winter!

Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude founded ProEquineGrooms.com as a way to unite grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – How to Keep Your Stress Levels Down at Horse Shows

Showing is fun, expensive, awesome, sometimes disappointing, sometimes amazing, and often stressful (for some, especially as we head into the “Indoors” season)! But how can you keep your stress level low?  This largely depends on what works for you as a stress diffuser, but here are some tips that might help you!

Get prepared long in advance  It’s more than making packing lists and practicing your braiding skills, it’s about going to schooling shows, getting out to ride in a clinic, or exposing your horse in low pressure situations to all of the things he might see at a horse show.

If you’re doing it yourself, have your grooming, braiding, and tack cleaning game down pat – Put in lots of practice at home, and make note of how long it takes you. Then, add a big time cushion when you get to the show so that you’re not rushed.

Eat well, sleep well, breathe well – One surefire way to obtain this is to have a regular exercise routine for YOU.  Learn some mediation techniques, some easy breathing exercises, and notice your stress level before it starts to escalate.

Have a support system in place– If you don’t like to drive the horse trailer, hire someone to take this stress away. Bring a friend or your spouse. Make sure your trainer can be there to help you warm up.

Don’t try and cram it all in – If you think that a few classes over a weekend might be too much, then opt for one or two classes on one day. Most horse shows will let you trailer in for a day.

Try to make the whole show experience easy –  Aim to give yourself time to walk around, shop, watch your friends, and let your horse chill out.

Best of luck, and enjoy!

Want more tips on improving your horse show experience? Read “Six Ways to Make Horse Showing More Affordable” here! Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude founded ProEquineGrooms.com as a way to unite grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Doing It Yourself: Tips and Tricks from NAYC Medalist Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen helped Zone 2 claim the Young Rider team bronze medal at the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) on August 2, before she was also presented with the Style of Riding Award.

Even without her well-earned medal and award though, Gracie would have still been a winner in our books!

While the majority of competitors at the NAYC have the assistance of a groom or trainer to care for their horse, Gracie is a standout. The 18-year-old from Moorestown, NJ, is largely the sole caretaker for her medal-winning mount, Rivage de Lormay. Gracie has had the ride on the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding, owned by Horseware Ireland, for the last year and a half, during which time the gelding has lived at home with Gracie at her family’s Woodedge Farm in Moorestown, NJ.

Gracie says, “I take care of him and prepare him for competition, and that allows me to really get the best out of him in the ring. I know him like the back of my hand, so it really allows me to know what’s going on with him. If he even looks at me funny, I know there’s something wrong.

“I feel like he knows me really well, so it plays a huge role for us,” continued Gracie. “I know that whatever success I have in the ring is because of the effort I’ve put in with him.”

Gracie Allen (second from right) with her Zone 2 teammates after claiming the Young Rider team bronze medal at the 2019 North American Youth Championships in August. Photo by Jump Media

Caring for Rivage de Lormay herself has not only helped their partnership in the ring, it has made Gracie quite the knowledgeable horse woman.

Couple that with pointers and expertise from her riding instructor parents, Bob and Maureen Allen, and lessons from Olympian Anne Kursinski, and Gracie has garnered quite a few tips and tricks!

“I started taking lessons with [Anne Kursinski] when I was 14,” said Gracie, who then spent a summer as a working student for Anne and now lessons with her on occasion. “Anne’s very big on horse management; it’s a big part of her operation. I worked as a groom and a working student for her for a while when I was a junior, and it was an invaluable experience for me. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. It really gave me insight into how to take care of my horses. My parents teach beginner lessons, which is a wonderful part of our industry, but being able to be there with Anne and see her system and how she does everything was incredible.”

 Here’s a bit of what Gracie had to share!

On preparing for and competing at the NAYC:

“It definitely gives me a big sense of pride taking care of him myself, especially coming here [to NAYC]. I really planned my show schedule around this competition, and it’s been a really big goal for me. To be able to come here and medal is a big accomplishment for me. When I do go in the ring and do well, I know that all of that is because of the hard work that I’ve put on, along with my parents and everyone who helps and supports me.

I came into these championships thinking that this was an opportunity that I really had to take advantage of because I don’t own any of my horses myself, so I don’t always know what the future is going to hold. I’ve been riding him twice a day to get him fit, and I’ve been feeding him every meal to make sure everything is completely compliant with [Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)] rules.

“I used the FEI database a LOT. My horse’s feed has about 25 different ingredients, and I was typing them all in. We have a lot of boarders, and if anyone sprayed anything near him or tried to feed him anything, I would have to keep an eye out for that. I was feeding him every meal and turning him in and out and making sure no one touched him. We had a day camp at the farm, with little kids, and I had to make sure they knew not touch him too! It was a little stressful getting ready for it, but now that I’ve done it and I know what I can and can’t use [under FEI rules], it’ll be easier next time.”

On time-saving tips:

“I always work on time management. That’s something I learned when I was working as a working student for Anne. I think drying a horse’s legs is very important, and we have a lot of fans in the barn so the horses can dry faster. It saves you time to put a fan on them after they have a bath or you wash their legs.”

Gracie Allen and Rivage de Lormay. Photo by Jump Media

On organizing her day:

“My main philosophy is to make everything simple. I tell myself that all the time on the way to the ring: ‘This is simple.’

“I really try to organize things very well for myself. When we’re at a show and I have multiple horses, sometimes the days can get really packed. I have to make sure I’m organized, and I know where I have to be and when. Being organized and making everything as simple as possible, not only for me, but also for my parents when they have to help me take care of my horses, is so important. They have to know where everything is and who goes when.”

On what she never goes to the ring without:  

“A chain. And treats. And a fly sheet.”

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Gracie!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – The Vacation Horse Sitter Checklist You Need!

Liv Gude’s advice on the information you should be leaving for your horse sitter! 

Your flights are booked; your bags are packed, and you’ve made arrangements with a trusted friend to look after your horses – but have you provided him or her with all of the information that may be needed?

Here’s a checklist of the details that you may want to leave your horse sitter before you head out of town!

– Emergency contact phone numbers for you, someone else in town, the vet, and your farrier.

– Clear feeding and care instructions, including any details of your horses’ daily routines.

– Your horses’ vital signs including heart rate, temperature, and respirations.

– Your horses’ particular ways of telling you that they don’t feel well. Each horse has their own language.

– Your horses’ medications and when and how to administer. Most horses have that one way, and one way only, they will take something.

– Any quirks that might put your horse sitter in danger – like his tickle spot that makes him kick out.

– A detailed plan of what to do in various emergencies, be it colic, hoof issues, not eating, acting weird, or lacerations and first aid. (Be sure to let your horse sitter know where the first aid kit is!)

– A plan if your horse needs a refill of food, fly spray, etc. Do you have an account at your local feed store where your sitter can just zip over or have you checked your current stock on everything that may be needed?

– Detailed information about what is safe and not safe for your horses to eat as a treat. We so often want our horses to be spoiled when we are away, but not spoiled with something they are allergic to.

– Instructions on how to handle your horse if he is acting like a fool, won’t be caught, is pawing at the gate, you name it. If you are in the middle of training or un-training a behavior, you want your horse sitter to be able to reinforce the same actions.

Now that you’ve left behind the proper information, relax, and enjoy your vacation!

Liv Gude, a former international dressage groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Take Care of Your Horse’s Skin from Head to Toe

Liv Gude’s advice on caring for your horse’s skin from head to toe! 

Between heat, sweat, dust, and just horses being horses, there are a lot of skin issues that can pop up.

It’s important give your horse the once over from top to bottom with your fingertips and not just your grooming tools.

Rubs and marks from straps, spurs, girths, and tack can all create pain and swelling for your horse. You will see hair loss, and your horse might even be extra sensitive in that area before a sore pops up.

You might also find flaky skin, hairless patches that are not under tack, hair loss, scratches, oily crusty skin, and even weird itching without any obvious culprit.

Before you reach for your lotion or potion of choice, make sure you know what you are dealing with. Your Vet can help you here, and will be able to prescribe meds to clear up any skin issues.

Know that some skin issues are contagious from horse to horse – like rain rot. Ringworm, a fungal infection, is also contagious to humans. Some dandruff and oily skin spots can be caused by mites and mange.

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Barn Manager Tips and Tricks: Eventing Edition! – Part Two

We’re excited to share week two in our Eventing Tips and Tricks series! Last week, we caught up with Courtney Carson, barn manager for 5* eventer Doug Payne, and this week, we’re sharing insight from Emma Ford, the incredible top groom and manager who has been behind the scenes for Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton for more than a decade!

Meet This Week’s All-Star Barn Manager

 

Emma Ford – Emma Ford has been an integral part of the team at Phillip Dutton International since 2005, including traveling with the two-time Olympic gold medalist to multiple World Equestrian Games, Pan American Games, and Olympic Games. She took a year off in 2013 thinking that she was ready to slow down, but she missed the action and soon returned in 2014 and has been a top go-to for eventing grooming tips and tricks ever since!

 

 

Q: What’s one thing that you don’t go to the ring or start box without?

For the dressage and show jumping phases a towel, hoof pick, and fly spray are always in my backpack in case dirt needs to be wiped off. For horses that don’t like to be sprayed, I use the towel to apply fly spray to their heads and ears.

When heading to cross-country at the larger competitions, I always have spare studs and a wrench in case studs need to be changed in the warm-up.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

Truly bonding with each horse. Knowing them well enough that a slight change in attitude or eye alertness means catching a health problem before it becomes too big.

I like to know what makes each horse tick. Each horse is an individual; what they need to perform their best at championships is paramount. Some horses love the individual attention, whilst others want to be left alone. I have one horse that has to be hand-grazed first thing in the morning otherwise he is anxious for the rest of the day.  Another horse gets very nervous before cross-country, and taking him out for a hand-walk prior to tacking him up seems to relieve some of his tension.

Q: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge of the job?

Learning to delegate and communicate. I am on the road with the advanced horses a lot through the show season. Being able to establish an at-home team that can keep the barn running smoothly is key. Over the years I have had to learn to trust people within the job to take care of the horses as I would – but also to not micro-manage!

Q: What items do you use most often in the barn?

My Multi Radiance M4 Cold Laser. I use this to help heal cuts, address sore muscles and acupuncture points, and rehab soft tissue injuries.

The Posture Prep Cross Fiber Groomer. It’s a grooming tool that allows me to massage the horse’s body to help release fascia whilst lifting dirt and bringing out the natural skin oils.

Towels! I’m endlessly drying horses’ legs, applying sprays, removing dust, and cleaning boots and surfaces – there are never enough towels!

Q: What is your biggest time-saving trick in the barn?

Thinking ahead! We have a training log book. Each day I try to list everything that needs to happen, lesson times, medications, icing, wrapping. This helps the staff to look at the day “as a whole” and be more efficient. Knowing these things ahead of time helps us to do day turn-out effectively and determines when horses are to be ridden (i.e. night turn-out horses get ridden earlier in the day). Rather than continually having to ask me what needs to be done, staff can go to the book and work it out for themselves.

Q: What’s your best grooming tip?

Allowing your horse to dry in the sun after bathing. This could be hand-grazing or letting them rest on cross-ties outside to dry. We are fortunate enough to have a horse walker. Many skin issues are caused because horses are put in stalls while they’re wet and without good airflow. The skin remains warm for a long time and provides a great environment for fungus and bacteria to grow and cause havoc wherever micro-abrasions might be present.

For more from Emma and clinics on horse health and management visit www.worldclassgrooming.com!

Photos courtesy of Emma Ford

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Barn Manager Tips and Tricks: Eventing Edition! – Part One

We’ve shared tips and tricks from some of the top hunter barn managers in the country, and some of show jumping’s “grooms to the greats” shared their insight with our BarnManager team. Now, we’re excited to learn from the barn managers behind some of the best eventing riders in our new Eventing Tips and Tricks series of blog posts!

First up, we caught up with Courtney Carson, barn manager for 5* eventer Doug Payne (who was recently named to the U.S. team for the 2019 Pan American Games to be held this August)!

Meet This Week’s All-Star Barn Manager

 

Courtney Carson – Hailing from Illinois, Courtney has spent the last three years based in Aiken, SC, as the barn manager and head groom for Payne Equestrian and eventer Doug Payne.

Q: What’s one thing that you don’t go to the ring or start box without?

“I always have a rag with me. Even if I can’t get baby oil or something out of my pocket, I make sure to give their noses and mouths one last wipe and tell them to “be good.” I also try to check their girth one last time just in case. Plus, I always have cookies waiting for them at the end!”

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

While doing well at the big events such as Land Rover Kentucky are great, most times it is something as simple as a four-year-old doing its first show.

We just had a six-year-old do his first CCI-L back in May; he was the first horse that Doug broke from nothing since I had started, and he was amazing all weekend. To see how far he had come in a short amount of time, and to see the potential that is there, was incredibly rewarding. I remember when we couldn’t turn him out without a halter and lead rope attached because you couldn’t catch him!

I also love when our students come back from a show or a round, and they are so excited to tell me about how they did. These guys work day-in and day-out for me, so to see their work pay off is one of the best things.

Q: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge of the job?

Keeping all the wheels moving in the right direction. We are a 60/40 split between 3-day event horses and hunter/jumpers, so there is always a lot going on. This keeps us on the road quite a bit with very little turnover time while at home. It is very important that I have a good crew at home who communicates well, and we all work cohesively together. I would much rather hear from six people that we need to order hay or grain than come home to nothing, and I have to jump in the truck immediately and go pick some up as soon as the store is open. Doing the multiple disciplines means that the type of care and body maintenance is different – my event horses are kept much more lean than my jumpers (and especially compared to the hunters!!), so staying on top of that and keeping mental notes in my head is difficult. Thankfully we have a great team, and I own a million white boards!

Q: What items do you use most often in the barn?

A good rubber curry comb is at the top of my list. Between the sand in Aiken and my desire to have them all as shiny as possible, I use my curry comb a bunch. I also like to keep a ton of Show Sheen or some kind of mane and tail detangler spray. I don’t brush tails unless we’re going somewhere or while at a show, but I load their tails up with the Show Sheen every day to keep them from getting dreadlocks. We also go through a lot of fly spray with the bugs in the South East.

Q: What is your biggest time-saving trick in the barn?

If it is finished, put it away! I try to write the daily list so that we would ideally be using the last dressage saddle before the first jump saddle makes an appearance for the day. This way all of the dressage tack can get cleaned and put away while we are tacking up horses who are jumping. I have a list of “standing chores” which includes hay, water, stalls, and laundry. If it is just me in the barn because the kids are riding, I may go ahead and tack up two of Doug’s horses then have a third one groomed off, so when he comes in and I need to bathe, get the next one tacked, etc. I am already ahead of the game. Then I can take care of the horses the way I want. I’m thankfully pretty good at multitasking, so it works. But as long as the kids are moving productively then it gets things done. Probably my biggest life-saver is that I put together a binder which lists all the equipment the horses will go in for each phase/type of ride. That way newer students don’t wander around the barn looking for someone to show them what tack to use.

Q: What’s your best grooming tip?

Pay attention to detail. Get to know your horses – their legs, coat, skin, eating habits, turnout behaviors, etc. and use it to your advantage. I have one horse that is super sensitive to the sand, skipping one day of washing his legs and skin funk shows up, but then the only thing that works on it is Micro Tek. I’ve tried every other anti-fungal shampoo with no luck.

I have another horse who eats half of his breakfast every morning, goes outside for a couple hours, gets ridden, and then will finish breakfast. All of these things are normal, but it scares everyone when they first start working for us. Don’t let the little things get to you, because horses spend every day of their lives trying to hurt or kill themselves, so things are going to happen that are out of your control.

Love them like they are your own. Communicate with your boss about how they want things done, and remember that everyone is on the same team. Never stop learning though, talk to other grooms, talk to vets and farriers, read articles, and keep an open mind. Things will work for some horses and not others, that doesn’t make them wrong. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Most importantly, find out what kind of treats your horses like the best and keep those on autoship through Amazon, Chewy, or Smartpak!

Photos courtesy of Courtney Carson

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – How to Prevent Your Horse from Getting a Sunburn!

Liv Gude’s advice on avoiding sunburn this summer! 

These tips are mostly for the gray and white horses out there, but any horse can benefit from a little cover up in the summer!

– Use sunscreen on noses and faces. The brands that have mostly zinc oxide-based versions tend to last a long time. (You will sometimes find them labelled as baby versions.)

– For socks or stockings, add fly boots.

– Faces and noses also benefit from full protection fly masks, including ears and noses. Add fly sheets, with a neck piece if needed. (Any type of summer horse clothing is best purchased in a light color to help keep things cool!)

Apply sunscreen or use full protection face masks to avoid sunburnt noses!

– Be super mindful of the sun if your horse has braids in; some horses will get sunburned between the braids.

– Get your vet involved if you find your horse has scabs or sores on the white areas, usually on the face or legs. You might think these scabs look like scratches, but horses can be photo sensitive and their pink skin will seemingly boil. It’s quite painful, and UV light can damage the skin quite quickly. Most horses with photosensitivity will despise being in the sun.

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!